September 24, 2006

Roasted Shrimp with Thyme

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

------- A Midsummer Night's Dream. Act ii. Sc. 1.

Roasted Shrimp with Thyme

from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld

3/4 pound shrimp
1 1/2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 TBSP coarsely chopped fresh marjoram
dash of finely chopped lemon zest
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Put the shrimp in a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss to coat them evenly. Lay the shrimp split side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. (At this point, the shrimp can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.) Roast until the flesh is no longer translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Notes: The original recipe featured marjoram, but one of the variations listed was thyme, which I had on hand and therefore used. Also, the cookbook calls for fresh shrimp in the shell but I used precooked for the convenience factor. I served it over linguine tosed with a little olive oil and butter and it was excellent. The best part was how simple it was to make.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
September 22, 2006

Tuna Grilled with Chinese Oyster-Ginger Sauce

Tuna Grilled with Chinese Oyster-Ginger Sauce
from Great Fish, Quick by Leslie Revsin

2 1/2 tablespoons bottled Chinese oyster sauce (supermarket Oriental shelf)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
Four 7-ounce tuna steaks, each 3/4"-1" thick
Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste

Start a medium-hot fire in the grill (see Note below). Fifteen minutes before you're going to grill the tuna steaks, put the grill grate 4" or 5" above the glowing coals if it isn't already there. (I also like to brush the top of the grate with vegetable oil just before grilling to help prevent sticking.)

Place the oyster sauce in a small mixing bowl along with the minced onion and chopped ginger. Whisk in the rice wine vinegar, then gradually whisk in the sesame oil and set the sauce aside briefly, or cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Place them in a shallow dish and pour 1/4 cup of the oyster-ginger marinade over them. Coat them all over with the marinade, and, if you have time, let them marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, covered with plastic wrap. (Refrigerate them if the kitchen is hot.) Otherwise, grill them right away.

Remove the steaks and reserve the remaining marinade. Place the steaks over the hot coals and grill the first side for 2 or 3 minutes, until browned. Turn the steaks and grill the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. The steaks will be pink inside. Cook them for a few minutes longer on each side if you want them well done. To check, make a small slit with a paring knife in the middle of one steak to check for redness.

To serve: Place the tuna steaks on warm dinner plates, spoon the rest of the oyster-ginger sauce over them, and serve right away.

Notes: I made this with 3 tuna steaks (about 10 ounces) and kept the rest of the ingredients at the same amount. It came out quite tasty. And I used my trusty grill pan.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 19, 2006

Pear Tortetta

Pear Toretta
from the good people at Peppereridge Farm

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 to 5 medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut in half
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 of a 17.3 oz. package Pepperidge Farm® Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)

Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes or until it's easy to handle. Heat the oven to 425F.

Mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Brush the pears with the lemon juice.

Spread the butter in the bottom of a 10-inch oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle the sugar mixture into the pan. Arrange the pear halves, cut-side up, with the tapered end of the pear towards the center of the pan. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the sugar melts. Remove from the heat.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Place the pastry over the pears to cover and tuck in the sides around the pears slightly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Place on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Place a serving platter over the skillet and carefully flip the skillet upside down to invert the tart onto the plate.

Notes:The challenge was to come up with a dessert that would transport well and contained no eggs. Also, no peaches and no bananas. And no nuts. Thus avoiding all the allergies of those it was intended to please. Though I found it a daunting task to flip it out of the pan. Also, the glaze didn't thicken quite as I expected it to so the crust underneath wasn't as crisp as I wanted it to be. Evenso, the dish was quite well-received.

Posted by Jennifer at 8:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 17, 2006

Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon

Maple-Glazed Roasted Salmon
from Cooking Light (January 1999)

1/4 cup grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 (2 1/2-pound) salmon fillet
6 shallots, halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
Chopped parsley (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in bottom of a large platter. Add fish, skin side up, to ginger mixture. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes. Remove fish from marinade; pat dry with paper towel to remove excess marinade.

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place a baking sheet in oven 5 minutes. Place shallots and fish, skin side down, on baking sheet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush fish with 1 tablespoon syrup. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Brush with 1 tablespoon syrup; bake an additional 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Notes: I made this on a pre-heated and olive-oiled cedar plank. It was cooked at 375 degrees for 10 minutes and then brushed with syrup before being cooked 10 minutes more.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:08 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 15, 2006

Veal Scallops with Wild Mushroom, Mustard and Tarragon Sauce

Veal Scallops with Wild Mushroom, Mustard and Tarragon Sauce
adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2003

1 pound veal scallops, about 1/8 inch thick
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
6 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster and stemmed shiitake), sliced or quartered
2 tablespoons tarragon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sprinkle veal on both sides with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook veal until golden, about 20 seconds per side. Transfer to plate. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet. Add shallots; saute 30 seconds. Add mushrooms; sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Stir in tarragon. Add wine; cook over high heat until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring to scrape up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add cream; boil until reduced by 1/4, about 1 minute. Stir in mustard. Using tongs, return veal to pan; simmer until heated through.

Notes: This was really quite tasty. As I was cooking it reminded me strongly of my mother's stroganoff recipe, which I haven't made in a while and now realize I must soon have again. Meanwhile, I thought there was far too much sauce for the amount of veal and would probably cut that and the mushrooms back by half the next time. I still haven't figured out what to do with the leftover sauce. I sure hate to let something that delicious go to waste, though.

Posted by Jennifer at 11:12 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
September 12, 2006

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Apple Oatmeal Muffins

Apples make a nice addition to these oatmeal muffins - they are moist and tasty. You can also add some raisins and/or walnuts to these.


1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups apple, peeled and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Combine remaining ingredientsnd mix well. Add to dry mixture and mix only enough to combine. Spoon into muffin tins that have been greased or lined with paper muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes: Every year I try to get up to the orchard for the fun of picking my own apples. Last year I made Spiced Apple Marmalade. This year, it was baking. And now I have a dozen of these in my freezer for easy and yummy snacks.

Posted by Jennifer at 4:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 9, 2006

Cricklewood 2003 Pinot Noir

Last night, Elizabeth Bear was over for dinner. We had Chicken with Tomato and Feta Sauce, which once again proved successful. I've yet to have anyone decide they didn't like that one. Even my father, who isn't fond of "skeezy cheeses that I can't describe."

Bear brought along a bottle of Cricklewood 2003 Winemaker's Reserve Pinot Noir. It's hard to go wrong with a wine from the Willamette Valley, and this one was apparently also reasonably priced (ranges around the web seem to be from $12-$16). It has a darker, fuller and more earthy taste to it than some other pinots I've had. I suspect it goes better with a meal than as a sipping wine on its own.

The Cricklewood varietals are produced by Montinore Vineyards from its estate vineyards in the Northern Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Posted by Jennifer at 9:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 3, 2006

Toasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos

Toasted Garlic Shrimp Tacos
from FoodieNYC (link)

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 large cloves garlic
1 bunch mint
1 lime
1 lemon
1 bunch chives (white or red onion instead is great)
2 handfuls or 1 bag washed arugula
3-4 large heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 package small corn tortillas (flour OK)

Make the Salsa

Chop the tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. If you want to be fancy, remove the seeds and inner core. Toss into a bowl. Add any leftover juices from the cutting board. Chop chives or onions into a very small dice (about two tablespoons)into a bowl. Finely chop about 1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (1/4 of a pepper)and add to bowl. Leave in seeds and inner white membrane if you like it spicy, otherwise remove them. Squeeze 1/2 of a lime and 1/2 of a lemon into bowl and add a 1 sec glug of olive oil to bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint. Season everything with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. Need more onion? Mint? Salt? Adjust to taste. This simple salsa is best covered and refrigerated for at least a half hour or up to 24 hours to let flavors marinate.

Make the Shrimp

Peel and finely chop 3 garlic cloves. Finely chop about 1 tablespoon mint. Take out your peeled and de-veined shrimp (also remove tails at this point or you'll need to do it later, either way OK) and place them on paper towels. Pat both sides until as dry as possible. This is important in order to obtain slightly browned shrimp that adds lots of flavor to the dish. Season both side of shrimp with salt and pepper. Place one glug of olive oil in a sturdy pan on medium high heat. Wait until the olive oil is very hot, to the point that it just barely begins to smoke. Add all of the garlic and immediately after add the shrimp carefully to the pan to avoid splatter. Add the mint right on top of the shrimp. The key here is not to flip the shrimp for about 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and squeeze lemon on them and turn off the heat. The shrimp is almost done - the heat in pan will continue to cook them. Set aside onto a cutting board after 1 minute or so, along with all of the garlic and mint and some of the olive oil. After cooling for a minute, chop your shrimp into bite size pieces and reserve.

Notes: Somehow I left the jalapeno off my shopping list, so I tossed in a few red pepper flakes for some kick, but I doubt this was as spicy as it was intended. And, I also served it as a wrap, instead of in toasted tortillas (yes, flour ones - sigh) for expediency. Plus I added a dollop of sour cream in each assembly (shrimp, salsa, arugula). A nicely balanced taste between the different flavors. I think these came out really well, and I applaud the crafter of the original recipe.

Posted by Jennifer at 2:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
September 1, 2006

Lamb Chops and Sliced Potatoes with Garlic and Vinegar Sauce

Lamb Chops and Sliced Potatoes with Garlic and Vinegar Sauce
adapted from One Potato, Two Potato by Roy Finamore

3 TBSP garlic, minced
3 TBSP sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds potoates, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 TBSP olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shoulder lamb chops

Combine the garlic, vinegar and stock and let sit for at least 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a shallow casserole dish and arrange half the potatoes in a layer in the dish. Drizle about 1/2 TBSP oil and season with salt and pepper. Repeat the process with a second layer (potatoes, oil, salt and pepper). Cover the dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. After 30 minutes, remove the foil from the potatoes and spoon in half the garlic sauce. Bake for 10 minutes and then start the chops. Heat the remaining 2 TBSP oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the chops and brown them, about 2 minutes per side. Pour in the rest of the garlic sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, turning the chops once. Add the chops to the casserole and spoon in any sauce from the skillet. Bake for 5 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Notes: The potatoes tasted amazing. I had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning. The dish overall reminded me a lot of Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic and since the author of the cookbook mentions this was adapted from a regional Spanish dish, that's not surprising. Quite yummy. Plus I got to finally use the mandoline my god-daughter gave me.

Posted by Jennifer at 10:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack